No such thing as double jeopardy when it comes to tort law

David Yates May 9, 2007, 9:00am

Bryan Blevins

There is no such thing as double jeopardy when it comes down to tort law.

While he was alive, Carl Larkin sued a petrochemical plant and received a claim for his "non-malignant asbestos-related disease." Now deceased, his wife is suing on Larkin's behalf for a "different malignant asbestos-related disease."

Attorney Bryan Blevins of Provost Umphrey will represent Bessie Mae Larkin, the executrix of the estate of Carl Larkin, and sue the A.O. Smith Corp., along with 42 other major corporations, for distributing products containing asbestos throughout Jefferson County.

This is the sixth case of its kind in the last two months. Provost Umphrey is best known for organizing asbestos and benzene class-action lawsuits against chemical refineries, making billions of dollars in the process.

Bessie has joined a list of growing plaintiffs in Jefferson County who are blaming an assortment of corporations, such as aerospace giant Lockheed Martin and iron supplier Zurn Industries, for manufacturing and distributing asbestos laced products.

She filed their lawsuit with the Jefferson County District Court on May 7. Judge Bob Wortham, 58th Judicial District, will preside over the case.

"No amount of due diligence would have allowed decedent to recover for his malignant asbestos-related injury when his original suit for non-malignant asbestos-related disease was brought," the suit said.

The petition says the 43 defendants entangled in his lawsuit were negligent, failing to adequately test their asbestos-laced products before flooding the market with dangerous goods.

In addition, the petition faults Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Corp. (3M Corporation) and American Optical Corp. for producing defective masks that failed to "provide respiratory protection."

Bessie is suing for physical pain and suffering in the past and future, mental anguish in the past and future, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, disfigurement in the past and future, physical impairment in the past and future, and past and future medical expenses.

She is also suing for funeral bills and the loss of numerous household services.

Case No. A179-266

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